Recapturing the Heart of Paris Through Its Belly

Parisians plan large-scale urban renewal efforts in Les Halles, known as the "belly" of the city.
May 6, 2004, 12pm PDT | Connie Chung
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In its heyday, Les Halles was "teeming with food markets and slaughterhouses renowned since the Middle Ages for its stench, infamy and authenticity"--before it was torn down in 1970's and replaced by "a gargantuan sprawl of rail networks, underground shopping mall, a swimming pool, cinemas, shops, gardens, terraces and pavilions." A public-private consortium in Paris is focusing on reclaiming the area, which is now characterized by outdated facades, traffic congestion, crime-ridden parks and water-damaged buildings, or what the mayor calls a "soulless architecturally bombastic concrete jungle." The redevelopment of Les Halles comes at a time when the city is in the midst of revamping its urban planning strategy, as well as vying for the 2012 Olympic Games.

Thanks to Connie Chung

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Published on Sunday, May 2, 2004 in Yahoo! Newswire
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